Chinese Garlic Shrimp

I spent the last week and a half in Shanghai, eating to my heart’s content and jotting down recipes and tips from my grandma and uncles.

My great grandpa on my mother’s side was a legit cook, whipping up banquet styled meals to feed his eight children. All of his children learned to cook traditional Shanghainese dishes such garlic shrimp, egg pork custard, tea eggs, fish head soup and red braised daikon. I have yet to try cooking all of these dishes myself and convert them to my lifestyle, but stay tuned!

Today’s recipe looks intimidating at first but as long as you have the basic aromatics (and their lazy versions like the jar of minced garlic), then this dish will be simple and quick to make.

If you’ve never bought fresh shrimp with heads before, then here’s a tip. Look for the ones with the bright orange dot in their heads as that will be the best part to enjoy the shrimp’s natural juice. For the newbies, the inside of a shrimp’s head tastes a bit like uni, but sweeter.


1 lb of raw unpeeled white shrimp with heads
3 Tb rice wine
1 Tb minced garlic
1 scallion, sliced
1 ts minced ginger
3 Tb soy sauce
2 ts rice vinegar


1. Rinse the shrimp with cold water and drain. Mix in the rice wine and garlic and let the shrimp sit for a few minutes.

2. In a large wok, heat up oil, scallions, and ginger. Add the shrimp with the wine and garlic into the wok and stir fry until the shrimp is halfway cooked. Add the soy sauce and vinegar. Cover and let it simmer on low heat until the shrimp is cooked through (completely pink). Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the sauce in the wok.

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